Lately famous people I favored decided to end their life: Avicii, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.
They have fame, wealth, and inspired many people, and helped many in needs, yet seems they were feeling lost and unhappy.
I am sad and wonder that they have seen the world and places that common people may never have the chance to see, but seems they’ve failed to see their own life.
::: How I see LIFE
Since I know Tobias, I grew an interest in art. There is an abstract painting hanging in our living room, there I see a rooster, he sees a panoramic landscape.
I saw a photo of a dry tree bald without leaves, but there’s a cloud that played as a wig for that tree. It’s beautiful.
Lately I am amazed with the work of Tim Noble and Sue Brewer, called “light works” and “shadow works”.
They picked up trash in London and piled it. In the beginning I saw only a pile of rubbish, but then when the spotlight switched on and shining on it, ta-da! It surprises me with the silhouette of beautiful view or people. It’s so amazing!(Check my pictures)
Then I want to see more. I know that when the spotlight shines in it, will turn that no value rubbish, into a significant art and shows a meaningful story.
Same with what we call life. I look into moments in my life, from ordinary moments like going to work, moments of joy like in love, moments of pain like betrayed or losing someone, moments of failure, etc.
When I have the spotlight on, I understand that all these moments in my life are not random but meant to be. In the past, often I only focus on one moment and I can’t see the whole story, I can’t see that it is actually one of the moving points to a greater story of my life. Each moment has it’s purpose.
My laughter, tears, love, heartbroken, achievement, failure, brilliant decision, mistake, blessing, suffering, etc. all go side by side and have a purpose, that is to show my life story of hope.
::: How I see HOPE
In the past, when I can’t see that there is purpose of each event that happened in my life, I felt I have no purpose to live, I felt like I don’t have a meaningful story to live. This made me depressed and lost.
In the past, how I see my life and others’ life was like how I see moments on Facebook or Instagram. Instant moments without content. My life, your life just a timeline that I scroll down but without big story.
We have the pressure to shine on our instant moments in Instagram or Facebook or other social media. We thought that society only accept flawlessness. We’re under pressure to shine flawlessly. However, the saying of “nobody is perfect” is true, each of us is flawed.
Like that pile of rubbish turning into silhouettes of people, our life is full of random events. Some are ordinary, some are meaningful, some are shameful, some are joyful and some are painful. But when the spotlight shines on us, it shows only one beautiful and significant picture.
::: How I see PURPOSE
“What do you do after your dreams come true?” asked Anthony Bourdain when interviewed by New Yorker few years ago.
As for me, I feel meaningful when I have a purpose to live. And my purpose is simple: to do good. By loving and by doing good to others so that others can see hope.
Since I understand this last year when I was 2 months in the hospital, everything I do now matters. How I greet strangers, how I treat my parents, how I talk with others, how I write my posts, etc. how I live my life matters.
Well if you don’t know what to do to have a meaningful life, I suggest you could start with this: doing good. There are so many simple things can be done in loving, helping, and blessing others. Endlessly and meaningfully.
One sunny afternoon, I was sitting at the cafe outside the bio-supermarket after I bought bananas. A mid-aged German lady approached me from behind and greeted me in German. She was a bit surprised when she saw my face and realized that I’m asian.
She: “You have a beautiful hair, which hairdresser were you going to?”
Me: “Ah, this? My husband cut my hair, haha”.
She’s not laughing though.
She: “Where do you color your hair? I need to dye my hair”
She’s showing me her grey hair is coming back.
Me: “Oh, this is my natural hair”
She’s not giving up.
She: “Hmm, then which shampoo are you using? Bio-product from here?”
Me: “No no…any brand from DM, currently I’m using Dove”
(DM is retail shop selling household items)
She: “Dove? Never heard of it”
Me: “Common brand like Nivea”
She’s a bit dissatisfied with my answer.
She: “Well, you have very beautiful shiny black hair”
I thanked her. She wished me good day and left. I smiled.
I remember half year ago, I lost a lot of hair from Temodal Chemo. My hair is growing back. Before DIPG, I had beautiful thick black hair, and now it is very thin. Often I feel not confident about my hair. Her simple greetings created big impact on me. Like a humor for me, it cheered my heart.
::: How I see MIRACLE
Last year, I told my close friends that a miracle for me is like the story of 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish in the Bible. I prayed that He will do it again with me, with whatever left on me, He will sustain my life longer.
Until recently, some commented or messaged me, “Titien, I see that you’re a living miracle”. I’m surprised with their testimonies, because “a living miracle” was what I asked for.
However, after one year post biopsy. The way I see miracles is deeper. In the beginning, I understood a multiplication miracle, miracle for me to live longer. Now, I understand why He broke the loaves and given to 5000+ people and they were satisfied.
Looking back one year post biopsy, I learned that the miracle in my life is not only “as many days alive
as possible ” of 5 loaves feed 5000 man. But, more than that, the miracle is about Him being here with me.
Miracle in my life is about Him as a living bread. The bread needs to be broken, to be given. He suffered, died and rose again for me.
The significant part of the miracle is His overflowing grace. So I can see things that my eyes failed to see.
Lately, I like the song “Do it Again” by Elevation Worship: https://youtu.be/rAVzDPTE7Tc
::: How I see OTHERS’ LIFE
At the same afternoon, before I went to this Bio-Supermarket where a lady praised my hair. A young guy approached me and greeted me in German.
He: “Hello, can I have your time? If you believe in Jesus?”
Me: “Hello, yes I am a believer.”
I saw him with Mormon Bible on his hand. I tried to avoid further conversation.
Me: “I can’t speak German.”
He: “Oh, I’m from US, we can speak in English. Where’re you from?”
Me: “I’m Indonesian. Anyway, I already have a church community I attended. Thanks and Tschüss”
I left in a hurry, went into the supermarket.
After that I felt bad. I didn’t respond rightly to him. I was annoyed by my own judgment about him and treated him wrongly. I forgot myself saved by grace for good works.
We are easy to assume and accuse others, or set a trap to find someone’s mistake or failure, or set our own judging system.
Flash back my life in Beijing. I am grateful for my friends that time, especially Kayan and Ashlee.
Back then when I was messed up, they stood by me for no matter what. During my good time, hard time, and time where I sinned. They’re not scared to get judged by others for staying with me.
Though they didn’t agree with me back then, but they love me. They never condemned me. Meanwhile in that one season of my life, I got judged by many, and this led me to seek comfort in drinks, psychics, etc.
My life was and is a process, and in that process my friends took position to stay long with me. Kayan often said “you’ll get through this.”
It’s not a coincidence that both scenes —a mormon guy and a struggling with hair lady—, happened to me in one afternoon. I was reminded again of His grace and love are keep coming. Give up stones and pick up grace and truth.
To see beyond others’ fault and see others’ need.
To see that we can have different believe, but we still can love and support each other.
I hope each of us are able to see the bigger picture from all random events, painful events and joyful events that happen in our lives. Every detail and every choice has it’s own context that makes our life significant. Me and you matter and are loved.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do GOOD WORKS, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV
“Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’” Matthew 22:37-39 NIV
1 YEAR 3 WEEKS POST BIOPSY.
UPDATE ABOUT MY TREATMENT:
Today’s blood test result showed leukocyte count low (2.9 out of normal count 4-10). So wait for another 2 weeks and check again. If it’s still low then I’ll get booster. When leukocyte count recover, I can take chemo (CCNU) again.
My symptoms are the same. Only my right eyes lately seeing blurry. I hope it’s only temporary and will get back to normal soon. Appreciate your prayer support! 😘